Has she received any reports regarding the ease of doing business in New Zealand?
Yes, I have. I have seen the Doing Business 2008 report from the World Bank, which again ranks New Zealand as second in the world out of 178 countries—only marginally behind Singapore—for ease of doing business. The data used by the World Bank was compiled just before changes were made by the Companies Office and the Inland Revenue Department to streamline the time it takes to set up a company down from 12 days to—now—a single day. If this change had been included in this year’s World Bank data, New Zealand would probably have been No. 1, so I hope we can achieve that next year. New Zealand’s success featured in a article entitled “Ease in E-Business start-up: New Zealand’s Lesson to Learn”.
Yes, I have. I have the seen the results of the fifth annual KPMG - Business New Zealand compliance costs survey, which were released this month, and which indicate that compliance costs for small business are on the way down. Interestingly, this survey shows that for firms employing five or fewer staff compliance costs have fallen by about a thousand dollars per full-time employee over the past year. I think this is great news for small business, which—due to issues of scale and scope—often feels the weight of compliance the most.
Why is she praising her Government over the World Bank’s ease of doing business survey when the survey does not cover issues such as taxation, environmental law, and resource management compliance, which are some of the top concerns among business?
I would advise that member not to believe everything he reads in a Business New Zealand press release, and to actually go and read the World Bank survey, which does cover those matters.
As Minister of Commerce I am particularly proud that the Companies Office has been ranked as the most helpful Government agency for the fifth year in a row. This result reflects well on the staff but also the culture of an organisation that refuses to rest on its laurels and seeks continuous quality improvement. I know that my colleagues are also very pleased to see that the Department of Labour, the Environmental Risk Management Authority, and the Customs Service all rated well with survey participants, and improved their ratings over previous years, reflecting the cross-Government commitment to improving service to business.